There was great news announced during this year’s National Accessibility Week – the House of Commons passed all the amendments to Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act. Now the only thing left is for the Federal Government to give the bill “Royal Assent” which should be in the next few weeks.
The AODA Alliance has been quick to point out what they feel are serious deficiencies in the bill. For example:
* It gives the Federal Government helpful powers to promote accessibility, but largely does not require that these ever be used. For example, it lets the Federal Government create helpful and enforceable national accessibility standards but does not require the Federal Government to ever do so.
* It provides for helpful enforcement tools but splinters its enforcement across four federal agencies, which is a real disadvantage to people with disabilities.
* It continues to allow federal public money to be used to create or perpetuate accessibility barriers against people with disabilities.
* It lets the Federal Government grant sweeping exemptions from some of the bill’s requirements to regulated organizations, including the Federal Government itself.
* It is excessively complicated and hard to read. This threatens to make it less effective and harder to implement.
As with all things, it’s one step at a time….